UVA's Tony Bennett: 'Bench Gave us Life'

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-- Virginia men's basketball head coach Tony Bennett talked with the media on Wednesday night after UVA's 80-54 win over Lehigh.

Virginia head coach Tony Bennett talked with the media on Wednesday after his Cavaleirs moved to 5-1 on the season. 

On the production of the bench, and whether there is a drop-off from the starters to the bench:

“The depth was good. The bench gave us a great lift, and we are getting those contributions. Mike (Tobey) was good, Darius (Thompson) was good, and I thought they brought life, Isaiah (Wilkins), all of them, and I go down the list. We were a little shot and three-point happy early, and I think we didn’t move the ball side to side, and look inside to at least try and touch the paint. Malcolm (Brogdon) had a nice pace about himself. You could see that he just was in a rhythm offensively. But I thought our bench gave us life. We got some stops and that’s the nice thing, it’s interchangeable. We can play a lot of different guys and I think that showed. Once we got into their bench, that’s where I thought they were down a little bit. They were tough to guard. They run good stuff. I think their five are fairly talented how they can score, and I know they’re picked to win their league, and I believe they’ll get going, but they just didn’t have the depth, and you saw the difference there.”


On the early problems of the game and the tight score going into the second half:

“As I said, I think they are of course better than their record and I think they’re stuff is harder to guard. Maybe a little impatient with the three ball early offensively, a few breakdowns defensively, but we’re not a knockout punch team, our way has to be just continuing to have possessions and it accumulates, and hopefully we can wear them down. We weren’t wearing them down too much offensively, so I think that let them in. It’s just kind of a battle and eventually we’re going to hopefully wear them down, and I thought that happened, but it doesn’t happen right away. We’re a possession team more than most, and I talked about how this is a game of cementing some habits. They’ve got to work to get shots, and we were a little behind playing catch up guarding their stuff because they had us moving and turning, and then once we locked in it was good. But that’s college basketball, you’re just going to fight and you’re going to be in games. I think we were fortunate to be up seven, but I thought there was a point where the tide turned, and then I thought we established what we needed to. If our guys get into that notion, ‘we’ve got to do it right away. Boy, I wish we were up at the media timeout. This team hasn’t won a game, we should be up by ten by now,’ that’s really wrong thinking that I think will put yourself in a hole. It’s on us doing what we have to do well over time.”


On whether Malcolm Brogdon has a sense to takeover a game when it is close like he displayed tonight:

“I think so, and Malcolm, he’s an aggressive player, I mean he looks to score. Again, he was in such nice rhythm with his shot. He got us off to a good start offensively because we were having a hard time stopping them. They hit some tough shots. That happened against George Mason, they hit some tough shots in the first half. That was a tight game, so there are capable scorers out there. The game has changed. Offensives are better now. It’s harder to be good defensively because there’s more multiple position players. I think offensive schemes are better and it challenges you. Again, we’re a defensive-first team, so we fight to do that, so you just have to keep grinding away, and eventually hopefully it will stick.”

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